Forsyth County Family Violence and Rape Defense Attorneys A conviction for domestic violence or rape can bring fines, a prison sentence, a lifetime ban on firearm ownership and a negative impact on your future employment and child custody arrangements. Let the criminal defense attorneys of Banks, Stubbs and McFarland fight for your rights and protect your best interest in your family violence case. What Makes a Crime Domestic Violence? In the State of Georgia, domestic violence crimes are considered to be acts of “family violence.” Crimes between individuals living in the same house typically qualify as family violence. Specific relationships that are designated as “family violence” include: Current or former spouses Parents of the same child Parents and children—either biological or adopted Stepparents and stepchildren Foster parents and foster children Children and guardians/individuals with custody Family relatives living under the same roof such a grandparents and grandchildren, siblings, etc. Persons currently or formerly living in the same household as a result of being in a romantic relationship Common examples of violent crime charges between individuals in the above relationships include: Assault and battery Sex crimes Kidnapping Murder and attempted murder Voluntary manslaughter Involuntary manslaughter Aggravated assault Arson Aggravated Stalking Stalking Cruelty to children1 If you were arrested for any of the above crimes at the felony or misdemeanor level, a conviction will result in negative consequences on your life. The criminal charges may also be accompanied by restraining orders or temporary protective orders (TPOs), which can remove you from your home and restrict or eliminate time with your children. Call 770-887-1209 now and let the expert attorneys of Banks, Stubbs and McFarland work tirelessly to get your family violence charges reduced or dropped. Penalties for Family Violence Convictions The State of Georgia considers domestic violence charges to be a more serious crime than violence between non-family members or significant others who are not living under the same roof. As a result, the punishment for a family violence conviction is more severe than other crimes. For example, simple assault turns into a “high and aggravated misdemeanor” when the crime is designated as “family violence.” Similarly, a second or subsequent family violence conviction between the same parties becomes a felony level offense with a minimum of 1 year. Domestic violence convictions, in general, often result in jail sentences, probation and fines. Georgia also requires that convicted individuals attend a 24-week family violence intervention program that costs approximately $600 to complete. Additionally, either a misdemeanor or felony family violence conviction will result in the loss of ability to own and purchase a firearm for life. Finally, the court will consider domestic violence convictions when determining child custody and visitation, especially if the crime involved the child. Family violence charges often arise from heated arguments or contempt between individuals. False accusations are common, particularly when there is a pending divorce case, and skilled attorneys know the warning signs of fake claims. The criminal defense attorneys at Banks, Stubbs at McFarland will compassionately review your case and devote their time and energy to prove your innocence. Gun Rights The federal Brady Act, which became effective across the United States in 1994, prevents gun ownership by anyone who has been convicted of an act of domestic/family violence. The Act does not rely upon a state’s classification of a crime – it defines domestic violence by its own terms. Thus, even if an action is not classified as domestic violence under Georgia law, it may nonetheless trigger Brady provisions, and prevent a defendant from owning guns. The Brady Act applies to both misdemeanors and felonies, and it imposes the ban for life. Brady bans cannot be expunged, reversed, or otherwise challenged. Brady bans are more than just an inconvenience for gun enthusiasts or hobby collectors. They can impair a defendant’s employment, as well. Law enforcement officers, for example, must generally carry weapons as a term of their employment. A person who is prohibited from handling firearms by the terms of the Brady Act will likely be unable to find employment in the law enforcement industry. Even administrative positions could be unavailable to a person with a criminal record of domestic violence. This is why it is so important to have an attorney fight false or exaggerated allegations of domestic violence. Child Custody Family court judges take family violence allegations very seriously. This is why it is so important that the criminal case accurately reflect the facts of the incident before the family court judge makes any decisions about the allegations. The criminal case will occur independently of the family court case. Nonetheless, a family court judge will consider evidence of a plea agreement, any statements made to officers at the scene or detectives investigating the case, and all other information about the incident. Any statement made at any point in the process can be used against an alleged defendant in the family court. Don’t risk the harsh penalties of a family violence conviction. Call 770-887-1209 now to schedule a free consultation at our Cumming, GA office. Defense Against Rape Allegations In the state of Georgia, rape is a very serious crime that is classified as a felony. Georgia law dictates that a man will be convicted of rape if he has intercourse with any woman “against her will.” Spouses and significant others are not treated any differently, so a husband can be convicted of raping his wife or girlfriend. Rape also applies in sexual situations without consent involving strangers and date rape. The penalties for a felony rape conviction are quite severe and include consequences such as: Life in prison without parole Lifetime Probation Capital Punishment (i.e. the death penalty) A permanent sex offender record The possibility of a civil suit with a monetary penalty The punishment listed above are certainly catastrophic, but the repercussions stem to more than just the legal system. Personal relationships, child custody and career opportunities are all negatively impacted by a rape conviction. A skilled criminal defense attorney is essential to prevent a rape allegation from becoming a conviction. Attorneys like those at BSM will evaluate your case, hire the appropriate investigators and expert witnesses necessary to fully and completely defend against rape allegations, and confront and cross examine all of the State’s witnesses and evidence at trial. Our legal team will also investigate for possible errors in the crime lab testing and analysis as well as any misconduct and/or mistakes made by law enforcement. Don’t face the stigma of a rape charge alone. Contact our offices now at 770-887-1209 or complete our contact form to begin the fight for your rights and reputation. 1 Note: The State of Georgia states that reasonable “corporal punishment” does not typically qualify as child abuse.